If parents give children the opportunity and the autonomy to make mistakes and try again, it can help them manage frustration, build their self-confidence and teach them persistence in achieving their goals.
Here are nine approaches for today’s parents:
- Send consistent messages to your children in what you say and what you do. Children imitate everything, so set clear limits. Learn to set clear boundaries, and they will learn to accept the concept of rules and consequences.
- Do not give in to tantrums. The fear of seeing their children cry often makes parents give in to their demands. A lack of time and patience can make this more difficult.
- Avoid negative and emotional language in speaking to children. “Terrible”, “chaotic”, “disastrous” are all emotionally charged words. Try to use more neutral terms. Also, avoid ambiguous and generalized phrases when establishing what is “good” behavior.
- Give children autonomy and responsibilities. Let them explore and seek things out. Don’t just give them everything.
- Don’t fear new experiences or anticipate failure. Help children find creative solutions to problems. Don’t avoid challenges in order to avoid dissatisfaction. Teach children to be persistent in their efforts. “Try again another way!”
- Teach children to make assertive decisions. Review with them the potential consequences of different decisions and encourage them to commit to a course of action.
- Recognize the emotions associated with frustration and teach children to express them. It is important for them to realize how they think and feel when things do not go their way. Expressing these emotions helps children avoid aggressiveness or resentment.
- Teach them to ask for help but don’t jump in to complete the task. Some children respond to frustration inappropriately — by screaming or throwing objects when they cannot accomplish a task. They might not consider asking for help. They need to know that adults are there to help them think about constructive solutions to a problem, not to solve it for them.
- Praise their successes. Some experts say that for every reprimand we receive; we need four rewards to restore our balance. Remember that criticism can be more powerful than a compliment. Showering children with punishment, judgment, and criticism is not necessary, and will only make the situation worse. Don’t underestimate their problems.
In short, parents should empower children to be independent, to make their own decisions, to explore by themselves without negative judgments, to make mistakes and to properly manage their failures. When this is done, children will have a higher level of self-confidence and a better ability to overcome small setbacks that happen every day.
At Smartick we follow these guidelines. Children complete their own 15 – minute sessions; if they make a mistake they know it right away.
Smartick employs positive reinforcements and continuously presents children with new challenges.